Tahuata and Ua Huka
We left the Marquesas islands yesterday for a 5 day open ocean crossing to the Tuomoto Islands (heeeeeere we go again...). Conditions have been a bit dicey so far, but after 28 days of this, we can handle anything. Next time, I'm sure you'll be hearing all about the beautiful Tuomotos, but for now, here's what we've been up to the last couple weeks in the Marquesas.
We stayed a total of 4 nights at 2 separate anchorages on Tahuata - our smaller, more remote island only a few hours sail from Hiva Oa. The first anchorage was arguably our favorite in the Marquesas for 2 reasons. First, was the beach. Close your eyes and picture a classic beach in the South Pacific. This beach was probably a close match to what you imagined. Where other beautiful beaches occasionally have trash, or areas covered in rocks, trees or brush blocking the way, this one just had no flaws. It's white sand was the softest we've ever felt, and lined with palm trees and with a mountain as a back drop, it looked like it belonged on the cover of a travel brochure.
The second draw to this bay was the manta rays. We saw these incredibly bizarre creatures a lot in the Marquesas, but never so closely as this. And I mean close. The water was crystal clear, so we could see them approaching our boat from a distance. Their giant flat backs looked like shadows gliding through the water. When they flipped in circles, as they often did while feeding, the shadows would disappear, revealing bright white bellies. Occasionally from the boat, we might also see the outline of their long slim tails, or the tip of their fins popping out of the water. The coolest (and weirdest) part though, couldn't be seen above water. When we jumped in to snorkel with them, we could see their HUGE very eerie looking mouths continuously gaping open to be filled by fish. They weren't afraid of us in the slightest - some glided within inches of my stomach. We got some phenomenal pictures with Anne's underwater camera. Stay tuned for those when I'm in the land of internet (Denver... joke's on you if you think there's any real internet out here). I'll be sure to post all of our best shots!
We stayed two nights at another spectacular anchorage just a few miles away on Tahuata. This one had a tiny town (population: 100 very friendly people), and some of the best snorkeling (for colorful fish this time) in the Marquesas.
We stopped at Ua Huka after a long day of sailing in the direction of Nuku Hiva. Ua Huka is sparsely populated, and we stayed at an anchorage with absolutely nobody to be found. We actually never went to shore here, because the swell and current was so strong. We had to be careful jumping in to swim - you could find yourself in a rip tide quickly. But the scenery was one of the most spectacular views we've seen so far (I know, I know, we say that a lot). It was so striking because of the red rocks that looked like they'd been brought from Mars. Against the turquoise water, and the bright green plant life, it looked like it didn't belong. Then, just behind the bay stood two little rocky islands that had a few sea caves and waves constantly crashing against them. One of them, strangely was completely flat - as if someone had taken a giant cheese slicer and just shaved the top off. We spent some time wondering what it would look like to have watched the geography here change over thousands of years. I'm sure it would be a beautiful show to watch.
Alright I anticipated finishing all of this today, but my eyes are drooping and I need to get some sleep before my shift at the helm. Tomorrow, I'll post about the island of Nuku Hiva!